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Meet Your Government: Assistants passion for books led her to career
Lisa MacKinney is the assistant director for the Hall County Library System.

Assistant Hall County Library System Director Lisa MacKinney turned her passion for reading into a career.

Throughout her life, MacKinney visited libraries frequently to feed her monster appetite for books, at times finishing a book every other day.

"I don’t ever remember not using a library. I remember my mom taking us to check out ‘Curious George’ books," MacKinney said.

MacKinney stumbled into her first library job after college.

"I went to the public library one day after a job interview just to check out some pleasure reading in my suit because I hadn’t changed yet," MacKinney said.

One of the librarians, who recognized her because she visited so often, asked why she was dressed up. After finding out MacKinney was looking for a job, she told her about a job opening at the library.

"We talked for five minutes and she offered me a job. I stayed there for four-and-a-half years," MacKinney said.

MacKinney is a jack-of-all-trades for Hall County libraries, doing community relations, news releases, the library newsletter, human resources and serving as the Friends of the Library liaison.

Though she has a lot on her plate, MacKinney said she loves her job and enjoys being busy.

"It’s really a great job because you can always change your hat if something gets old on you and you need time to think about it," MacKinney said.

Her favorite times on the job are when she is working with people.

"It all comes back to working with people," MacKinney said. "I like to do human resources, training, hiring new staff and I like doing the community groups, working with the Friends (of the Library) and getting to know them and educating people about what libraries have to offer."

MacKinney said she thinks people often don’t realize all the services public libraries provide.

"There’s just a lot of things that you would not just automatically assume to be a library role, but really it’s become one of our primary roles," MacKinney said. "Our computer classes are bursting at the seams."

Aside from classes, libraries also offer nontraditional items to check out, such as electronic books, a park pass to visit state parks and even something to help save money on electric bills through the statewide Kill-a-Watt Program.

"We’re now circulating a tool where you can gauge the electricity in your home and figure out where you may be able to save money on your electric bill," MacKinney said. "We are definitely filling some nontraditional roles in terms of circulation."

MacKinney has worked in public libraries since 1995 and has been with Hall County for five years.

Outside of work she spends time with her 4-year-old son, Jefferson, and husband Keven. She has a vegetable-and-herb garden and takes yoga classes. She is also the chairwoman of the literacy committee for the Rotary Club of Gainesville and volunteers for United Way.